If your friends are happy to encourage you in your ridiculous plan to eat pizza, macaroni & cheese, a cheeseburger & a milkshake for dinner, they are keepers.
I’m just so glad I’m not lactose intolerant.
Latest examples from the Screen Capture Series (SCS) have been of places that feel like home. There are several more, but I have this overwhelming feeling that updating my queue and looking at the internet is going to become something I have to distance myself from for awhile in the coming week.
This week will likely stretch on forever but go by much too quickly. It’s starting to become real and it’s hard to handle.
I sat down to fill out my form and a little girl was sitting in the chair next to me. I looked over at her and she buried her face in her arms, her blonde hair falling around her like a fortress or a security blanket.
A man sitting on the opposite side of the room came over and picked up the little girl, kissing her on the top of her head as he swung her above his shoulders. He took her over to where he’d been sitting and started rocking her back and forth. She started crying. He told her “Don’t cry, we don’t know there’s any reason to be sad. Everything is going to be just fine.” It was very sweet. He talked to her about taking her to see a man play guitar and sing at his work later, and how her uncle wanted to teach her how to play. She started crying harder and said she couldn’t think about things like that right now, she was too scared. Her dad replied “You’re too scared to play guitar?” She quietly laughed.
I was reading my fifth generic interior design magazine of the week and stopped leafing through the pages to look over at them. This man was obviously the little girls father, and without thinking I instinctively wanted to let this little girl know that she wasn’t the only one who was scared. I said “You know what’s cool about getting your blood taken? They can tell things like who your parents are and what all the little building blocks are that make you, you. Isn’t that cool?” She nervously nodded and her dad brushed her hair out of her tear-laden eyes. “It is scary though, I’m scared. I’m much older than you and I’ve even done this before and I still get scared. It’s okay to be scared.” I told her this and she looked up into her dad’s face and he nodded at her. She looked back at me and said “really?” I nodded and they called my name.
When I came back out 10 minutes and 5 needle pricks later, I told her it wasn’t as bad as I’d built it up in my head and that the nurses are really nice. I looked at her dad and added “plus, your dad can hold your hand.” She smiled and buried her face again, this time in her dad’s shoulder. He smiled at me and mouthed “thank you” as I headed toward the exit.
As I sat down in my hospital gown, I noticed a small, fragile woman sitting in the corner. She was mid-conversation when I entered my second waiting room of the day. As I selected a magazine from a pile of tattered periodicals of yore, she proudly announced to those in the room that she had just turned 81. I smiled at her slightly and proceeded to a chair by the window. The woman who was most engaged in this exchange started laughing and said she’d be lucky to make it to 71 and that she hadn’t even really expected to make it to 68. They discussed poor circulation and ways of dealing with it: gloves, heating pads, warm foot bath treatments, snuggies. They were so intimate with each other, I assumed they had known each other in some previous life, many years before. A nurse walked in and announced a name, calling for the next patient. The name belonged to the 81-year-old. She stood up and the 68-year-old nodded at her and said it was nice to meet her and that she would now have a name to use when she prayed for her new friend to be healed.
After the older woman left, the younger woman turned to look at me. She said “what’s a young thing like you doing in here? This is the kind of place where they tell you why you’re dying. That’s a long way off for you. Why would you come to a place like this?” I forced a smile and nodded while answering her question: “just for some routine tests.” She told me those were the worst kind when you’re her age, but for someone like me I’d be fine and that I shouldn’t worry. She could tell I was anxious. Maybe it was the polka-dotted socks with little monkey faces embroidered on them. The socks had betrayed me and given away my secret.
She didn’t say much else, but they called my name next. When I was walking through the door to the hall with all the exam rooms, she looked up at me, smiled and said: “It was nice to meet you, I’m glad to have a name to use when I pray for my new friend to be healed.”
the anxiety I feel when I have to go in for another test with another doctor. “Isn’t it scarier not knowing?” Sometimes. Not always. If it would never have been an option, if it never would have come up, I wouldn’t have a reason to be anxious. This time, though, I’ll have to deal with the outcome of these tests alone. Something I’ve never had to do before. I’ll have to be strong and brave for myself. Maybe that’s a good thing, but I’m still not convinced. I’m scared and all I can do is hold my own hand.
This is really happening.